Wine grape harvest is underway: earliest in years

This year’s grape harvest, one of the earliest in years, is now underway — in the foothills and throughout Northern California.

It will continue into October, when the last cabernet sauvignon grape is picked.

The warm weather resulted in an earlier bud break, with a warm summer, leading to an earlier harvest. Smaller berries with intense flavors are expected, thanks to the drought.

“The first crush of the season is Viogner from Damiano Vineyards in Auburn,” reported Pilot Peak Winery in Penn Valley.

Naggiar Vineyard’s Viogner from Block 24 is expected to be harvested this week, according to the winery.

“Harvest has started,” reported Avio Winery in Sutter Creek, in Amador County. “We picked the Pinot Grigio the other day and are now picking the Orange Muscat.”

More wineries are gearing up for harvest. “A beautiful morning drive in the vineyard, checking sugar in the Chardonnay, two weeks ahead of last year,” according to Smith Vineyard in Grass Valley. “Estimating Chardonnay harvest end of August.”

(Photo: Pilot Peak Winery)

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